Dr Anthony Fauci, a senior US scientist, issued a cautious prediction that the novel coronavirus could claim as many as 200,000 lives in the United States, as state and local officials described increasingly desperate shortages in hard-pressed hospitals.
Dr Fauci, who leads research into infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health, told CNN that models predicting a million or more US deaths were “not impossible, but very, very unlikely.”
He offered a rough estimate of 100,000 to 200,000 deaths and “millions of cases.” But Fauci, a leading member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force and for many Americans a comforting voice of authority, quickly added, “I don’t want to be held to that ... It’s such a moving target that you can so easily be wrong and mislead people.” By way of comparison, a US flu epidemic in 2018-19 killed 34,000 people.
Covid-19 has hit the US with explosive force in recent days and weeks, following a path seen earlier in parts of Asia and Europe.
In the US, the epicentre has been New York City, with 672 deaths so far.